WHO welcomes approval of Ebola vaccine trial in Switzerland

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday welcomed the approval of a Swiss regulatory authority for a trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital.

Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday welcomed the approval of a Swiss regulatory authority for a trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital.

According to Swissmedic, which is the Swiss regulatory authority for therapeutic products, approval means the vaccine can be tested on approximately 120 individuals in Lausanne, Xinhua reported.

The trial, which is receiving support from WHO, is the latest in a series of trials that are ongoing in Mali, Britain and the US.

The vaccine "ChAd-Ebola", developed by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, consists of a virus that is rendered harmless and used as genetic carrier for one Ebola protein.

The trial will test the safety of the vaccine and its capacity to induce an immune response, and will begin this week in Lausanne with the first results expected in December 2014.

Results from the trial, together with the results of other centres involved, will provide the basis for planning subsequent trials involving several thousand participants and for choosing vaccine dose-level for efficacy trials.

The trial is one of two in Switzerland coordinated by WHO. A second vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, will be tested at the Geneva University Hospital, concurrent with the Lausanne trial.

"These are dosing and safety trials being held in advance of phase II and III trials currently scheduled for late 2014-early 2015," Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general, said in a statement.

"If shown to be safe and effective, either of the vaccines could be scaled up for production during the first quarter of next year, with millions of doses produced for wide distribution in high risk countries," she added.

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